The Wise Woman and Other Fantasy Stories | George MacDonald

What comes to mind when you think of fairy tales? Children’s stories? One-dimensional fables? Moralistic illustrations? George MacDonald mastered and elevated the genre of “fairy tale” to something greater.

The Wise Woman and Other Fantasy Stories is one of four books published by Eerdmans in 1980 that collect MacDonald’s shorter fantasy tales. This volume includes:

  • “The Wise Woman” (1874, from Good Things)
  • “Little Daylight” (1871, from Works of Fancy and Imagination)
  • “Cross Purposes” (1867, from Dealings with Fairies)
  • “The Castle: A Parable” (1864, from Adela Cathcart)

While each of these stories have merit, “The Wise Woman” stands above the rest. On one level, it’s a simple story about how parents should bring up their children. Look a little deeper and you can see MacDonald’s theology in the Wise Woman Christ-Figure. Her presence and absence in the lives of the children she’s helping beautifully reflect the Christian’s experience of God.

“The Castle” is another story that lays bare MacDonald’s theology. The parable is a clear allegory of the Christian life, where the elder brother is the only one among the family who adequately conveys the desires of the absent father. The way the siblings turn their lives around after the moment of crisis is pure inspiration.

These fairy tales deserve to be read by Christians of any age.

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